Claremont Charter chairman says change course before its too lateBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
June 18. 2014 9:45PM
CLAREMONT — Charter Commission members will discuss and possibly vote to change course on the already adopted proposal to shift from a city manager and city council run city to a mayor and alderman run system.
The Charter Commission has less than a month to finalize its proposed changes to the city charter.
Cities like Manchester and Nashua have the mayor and alderman city government.
Residents frustrated that voters don’t have more control over city spending lobbied the Charter Commission to propose the change.
In March, commission members Joe Osgood, Rusty Fowler, Ron Gilbert, Cynthia Howard and Paul LaCasse voted for the motion to convert to a mayor/ alderman form of city government while Robert Porter, Raymond Gagnon and Nick Koloski voted against it. Chairman George Caccavaro Jr. only votes to break a tie.
Caccavaro said Wednesday with the deadline nearing, he fears voters who oppose the monumental change will vote it down in November, and with it all of the other proposed changes.
“You don’t vote on individual clauses. You vote it up or down. So what will happen is everything we have done for the past few months will be for nothing,” Caccavaro said.
“The main difference is currently the city manager can be removed by the City Council because he is hired,” Caccavaro said. “The mayor, he’s an elected official, he can’t be terminated.”
Possible Friday vote
On Monday, Caccavaro brought his concerns to the other commission members. It will be discussed again at this Friday’s meeting, he said, at which time he will ask that it be brought to a vote.
Caccavaro said about 30 people turned out to give public comment in favor of the change; however, about 250 people signed a petition against it.
“I don’t think because they came to a meeting their position is any more valid,” he said.
Several smaller changes proposed by the commission would give voters more power, such as the return of standing committees, which in the past were resident- run committees that oversaw every city department budget, and a provision that would allow a City Council-adopted ordinance to be taken to a citywide vote if there is opposition to it.